“The wind was a challenge, but we’re an outdoor sport and all crews were able to race head-to-head in multiple races.” Said UCI head coach AJ Brooks. In this duel-style sprint race, each school entered multiple boats which then went head-to-head in three different qualifying rounds.
“The Challenge Cup provides an early season test and tune-up for all the crews. It’s a unique rowing event for Newport since spectators can see the whole event on simulcast and cheer their teams from shore. Our teams, women and men, did very well, with our men’s varsity coming out ahead of their club rivals, including UCLA and UCSB,” Brooks continued.
In the finals, the fastest boats normally compete against each other for one of the seven final cups for men and women. This was the first year that both men and women competed at the regatta. "Another productive day of racing, the format allowed the crews to race multiple duel races," said Cal men’s coach Scott Frandsen. "It was really good for our guys to get out and get three races in pretty tough conditions and gain some experience.”
This year, high winds picked up throughout the morning led to the final cups being canceled for safety. “Even through these rough waves and crazy winds, the rowers still ended the day with big smiles on their faces,” said junior coxswain Grace Sanders.